Douglas became the first county west of the Cascades declared under a drought emergency after an executive order signed by Gov. Kate Brown Thursday.
Baker County was also declared under a drought emergency last week following low rainfall and snowpack levels across the state.
“All signs point to another record-breaking drought and wildfire season for Oregon,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “That means we must continue our urgent work to build communities that are ready for the challenges of climate change. I have directed state agencies stand ready to help and work with local communities to provide assistance.”
Earlier this month, Douglas County Commissioners declared a drought emergency citing, in part, low water levels at the Galesville and Berry Creek Dams.
In an earlier interview with The News-Review, Douglas Forest Protective Association spokesman Kyle Reed said this year’s fire season isn’t looking positive; the region is 12 inches behind on rainfall, and didn’t get the same snowpack it had last year.
The National Weather Service in Medford reports Douglas County is expected to receive above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall over the summer months.
Drought emergencies are already in effect in Klamath, Grant, Harney and Lake counties.